Posted Sat Jun 14, 2014, 11:35am Subject: Re: Calibrated Tampers
You're welcome to go out and spend your money how you want...and you may get something out of this tamper...but if you're interested in hearing a different perspective, read on...
I used to own an Espro tamper. I bought expecting it to help train me to tamp with consistent 30# pressure. I found that it was very easy to push beyond the click. More accurately, I found it very difficult to not push beyond the click. After training myself for several months, I took a barista training class. The instructor, Heather Perry, had us tamping onto a bathroom scale, and I was doing a consistent 60#! Uh, wait a minute....did I just say 60#? Yeah, I sure did. The click didn't help me one bit, other than I was consistent. I stopped using it...and began feeling the resistance in the grounds as the puck was forming. If you pay attention, you can actually feel when the puck is well-formed, although you're still able to really pack it down tight if you want to. You can spend that money on a really cool looking tamper or maybe even more helpful tools.
. Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
No. There's the Smart Tamp Doug mentioned, and let's not forget the Attento Click-Mat. My favorite is the Technic tamper by Concept Art; it's is just as good as the Espro, adjustable, has a variety of interchangeable base-shape options, and is less expensive.
If you like gimmicks and are interested in a collection of tampers, go ahead and buy one -- or several.
Otherwise, understand: (1) They are gimmicks; (2) There are less expensive and more effective methods for learning consistent tamp pressures (per Ron); (3) Once you've developed consistency, calibrated tampers are far more gimmick than aid; and (4) There's no magic pressure that's the right pressure. Anything from about 5 to 45lbs will work about as well as anything else. All that really matters is that the tamp is level, there are no voids or cracks, and the puck is sealed against the basket around its entire circumference.
The most important things about a tamper as a tool is that it fit your basket tightly and your hand comfortably. After that, the "cool factor" is everything.
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